Four Rivers downed in Amherst title game

  • The Four Rivers girls ultimate team, shown here after winning their own tournament earlier this month, finished as runners-up in the Amherst Invitational over the weekend. Staff Photo/Dan Little

Staff writer
Published: 5/12/2019 8:20:46 PM

AMHERST — Trailing isn’t a familiar position for the Four Rivers girls ultimate team.

The Otters had only lost once all season and dominated the 2019 Amherst Invitational until the final against Amherst on Sunday.

The Hurricanes proved a different sort of challenge in the Division I girls championship game. They built a one-goal lead heading into halftime then scored eight unanswered to win 14-6.

“They’re not used to losing. It’s easy for them to get into their own heads when they’re losing by two or three,” Four Rivers coach Dov Plotkin said of her team.

It’s the second year in a row the Otters have lost in the championship after falling to Virignia’s HB Woodlawn last year. They were without two of their top receivers because of injury, and conditions were less than ideal Sunday. Rain fell constantly, and temperatures hovered in the 40s.

“At some point they started getting burnt out and very cold,” Plotkin said. “The energy levels stayed up, and I think they fought really hard.”

Four Rivers forced the issue early. After allowing an Amherst goal on their first defensive possession, the Otters forced a turnover and went up 2-1 on a throw from Xhhu Arfa to Anna Goldstein.

“We went into it very excited and ready,” Plotkin said.

The teams traded points until Amherst wrestled the lead back 5-4 on a beautiful long throw from Karta Khalsa to Lisa Knapp.

The Otters managed to tie the game at five and six on goals from Goldstein and Ashley Schliger, respectively, but Four Rivers’ offense sputtered after that. Still, the loss provided valuable data for Four Rivers for the games and weeks ahead.

“We keep really specific stats for both teams. Every single one of the points Amherst got were between four different people on their team,” Plotkin said. “Those kinds of notes are what we’re going to use to work on when we play them in a week and a half.”

Even with the loss, placing second at one of the most prestigious ultimate tournaments in the country is nothing to sneeze at. The Otters went 5-1 and held every opponent besides Amherst under six goals, allowing an average of 4 per game.

“They played phenomenally,” Plotkin said. “I used to do a lot of subbing, but now I just let them do it themselves because they’re all so good. I don’t really know what happened in that final game besides getting behind and getting stuck in their own heads about it.”

And Four Rivers’ season isn’t over. The Otters still have their rematch with Amherst and the state tournament in two weeks to look forward to.

In other results, Northfield Mount Hermon lost in the Division I quarterfinals but won its next match to advance to the fifth place game. It was cancelled because of weather.

Four Rivers’ junior varsity squad won the Division II championship, 13-8, against Amherst’s JVA team.

NMH also captured the boys Division II title with a 12-7 victory against Frontier. Deerfield Academy placed third, beating Monument Mountain, 14-10, in the third-place game.


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